Platform

Vermont Democratic Party 2014 Platform

 

As Amended and Approved by the State Committee of the VDP

and by the Vermont Democratic Party Platform Committee

September 27, 2014

STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

The Vermont Democratic Party believes it is government’s role to protect and empower people to create equal access to health care, education, clean air and water, privacy, peace and equality.  We believe in the right to organize and speak freely, and to earn a livable wage.

The Vermont Democratic Party values empathy and accountability.  We value a government that provides its citizens with a strong voice. 

We hold these principles, goals and commitments in common as members of the Vermont Democratic Party and will work together and individually, to the best of our ability, to promote them as the guiding philosophy of a just and fair government.

Respectfully submitted by the 2014 VDP Platform Committee:

A. ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

The Vermont Democratic Party is committed to creating economic opportunities for all Vermonters, giving focused attention to building and maintaining a strong middle class and attracting and keeping young adults in Vermont.  We will create economic opportunity within a framework of sustainability, diversification, creativity and social responsibility.

 

  1. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND JOB CREATION

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Encourages the development of jobs that provide workers with a livable wage, the right to organize and collectively bargain for wages and benefits, and jobs that improve working conditions and the standard of living for Vermont workers.
  • ·      Supports businesses in downtowns, village centers, and designated growth centers.  We support giving priority to redevelopment of currently unused industrial space in “brownfields” or currently permitted sites throughout the state, before undeveloped land is used.
  • Supports measures to give small businesses access to capital and assistance in meeting regulatory requirements.
  • Will offer fiscally responsible incentives to attract and strengthen Vermont-based businesses, especially in areas of most need.
  • Supports establishing locally controlled state-of-the-art universal broadband telecommunications services state-wide.

 

  1. JOB RETENTION

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Opposes outsourcing and privatization of state and public-sector jobs, outsourcing of private-sector jobs, and off-shoring of jobs to other countries. These practices undermine workers’ rights, adversely affect local economies, destroy community safety nets, and threaten the environment.
  • Opposes doing business with employers who ignore the rights of workers.

 

  1. REGULATORY REVIEW

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Encourages the review of our Vermont land use policies as responsible stewards of the environment, our communities, and the planet.
  • Supports the right of public input and the need to protect the public good in the regulatory process.
  • Will work to foster working partnerships among federal, state, regional, local, and private agencies involved in development including housing, business, infrastructure, and job creation.
  • Will seek to identify and resolve conflicting regulations.

 

  1. JOB TRAINING

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Believes in partnering with schools and businesses to link training and job opportunities for a skilled workforce to meet marketplace demands. Our Vermont citizens are our most valuable asset and deserve access to lifelong learning and career training opportunities. 
  • Supports investing in education and training with emphasis on the under-employed and employment opportunities for young adults.

 

  1. TAXATION

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Is committed to a policy of fiscal responsibility that reflects our values of social and environmental responsibility.
  • Encourages consideration of tax policies that address the inequalities of income and wealth.
  • Will study alternative ways to fund public education that do not compromise equal access to a quality education.

 

B.   ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP, INVESTMENT AND       

       CONSERVATION 

 

A healthy environment is a critical element of Vermont’s economy and valued quality of life.  In light of the scientific community’s overwhelming evidence of global climate change, the Vermont Democratic Party supports the protection and conservation of our environment. We are committed to the enactment and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations. We support obtaining 90% of Vermont’s energy from renewable sources by 2050.

1.    INVESTMENT IN SUSTAINABILITY

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Supports and encourages local businesses to develop and incorporate sustainable business principles.
  • Supports measures that encourage sustainable farms in diverse areas of agriculture. We support sustainable and ecologically sensitive uses of Vermont’s natural resources.
  • Encourages businesses that keep profits circulating within Vermont.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

  1. CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Respects private property rights and supports environmental laws and regulations.
  • Supports legislation and regulation that prevents pollution and wasteful land consumption.
  • Supports the continuance of soil and forest conservation initiatives.
  • Supports the development and use in Vermont of organic agricultural methods.
  • Supports the legislation requiring the labeling of genetically-modified foods.
  • Promotes the conservation of Vermont’s working farms, forests, and traditional mining industries.
  • Supports a greater emphasis on the goals of Vermont’s land-use (Current Use) planning laws.
  • Encourages the identification and protection of Vermont’s unusual ecological habitats and critical wildlife corridors.
  • Supports the protection of threatened and endangered species native to Vermont.
  • Calls for the vigorous enforcement of and necessary updating of laws for wastewater treatment and surface water runoff to protect our lakes, e.g., Lake Champlain, streams and rivers from pollution.
  • Supports state and federal assistance and education for farmers, property owners, and industry to reduce phosphorus discharges that cause toxic blue green algae that endangers our drinking water, aquatic life, and clean air.
  • Supports recycling legislation to reduce waste in Vermont’s landfills.
  • Supports the development of programs to eliminate or mitigate invasive species in Vermont.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

3. TRANSPORTATION 

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Supports investments in the creation and renovation of a public transportation infrastructure that expand economic and cultural opportunities.
  • Supports transportation services to Vermont’s underserved people, businesses and geographic regions.
  • Supports increasing incentives to further the development of community-based walking and biking trail networks.
  • Encourages education programs that focus on vehicular efficiency including miles-per-gallon, speed, tire pressure and idling.
  • Seeks incentives to maintain highways, decrease carbon emissions, and lower transportation costs.
  • Supports the development, wherever possible, of a modernized rail system for freight and regional commuter traffic.

 

4. CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY POLICY 

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Encourages renewable energy and energy conservation education programs in schools and public forums.
  • Supports the reduction of Vermont’s dependence on fossil fuels for the generation of electricity, thermal use, and transportation.
  • Supports the transition of Vermont’s energy resources to sustainable, reliable, renewable and low-impact energy sources while taking into consideration the immediate and long-term effects on human health and the environment.
  • Supports cost-efficient energy initiatives through weatherization projects, lighting and Energy Star appliances.
  • Supports smart growth land use choices which promote energy savings.
  • Encourages the continued development and dissemination of statewide education programs to inform Vermonters of energy efficiency practices.

 

C. GOVERNMENT

 

Democrats understand that “We, the people of Vermont,” are “the government.”  We stand for the separation of powers among the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government as defined in the Constitution, and held to account by voters informed by a free press. The work of our government must be conducted with transparency, fairness, responsibility, and accountability at all levels.

1.    SOUND FISCAL POLICY

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Believes sound fiscal policy is vital to the beneficial operation of government.
  • Supports responsible spending, equitable taxation, and the creation of protections against revenue shortfalls.
  • ·      Supports an annual balanced state budget.
  • Supports ongoing and timely investments in current and future infrastructure, healthcare, education, renewable energy, and green technologies.
  • Believes these investments are hallmarks of good government and sound fiscal policy that will reduce future costs.
  • Believes that government officeholders and their appointees must be accountable to taxpayers for their ethical and fiscal actions.

 

2. MANAGING STATE GOVERNMENT

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Is committed to consistent and fair enforcement of regulations.
  • Believes coordination amongst state agencies will better serve Vermonters.
  • Supports government services that are efficient, cost effective and well-coordinated.
  • Supports adherence to all open meeting and public records laws.
  • Supports better protection of whistleblowers.
  • Recognizes that regulatory reporting requirements and timetables must be reasonable and practical for effective implementation.

 

3. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM AND PUBLIC FINANCING

 

The Vermont Democratic Party: 

 

  • Is committed to substantive campaign finance reforms, including public financing, that will withstand court challenges.
  • Believes that massive amounts of Superpac money have no place in Vermont elections.
  • Will work to counter and legally reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
  • Is committed to transparency in the funding of elections.
  • Supports efforts to digitize campaign finance reports to make the information easily accessible to the public.

 

4. VOTING

 

The Vermont Democratic Party: 

 

  • Supports measures to educate and encourage all citizens to exercise their right and fulfill their responsibility to vote.
  • Supports the principle that voting should be convenient, easily accessible and understandable for all citizens and will work to ensure that voting rights include early voting.
  • Insists on free and fair elections with accountability for all votes via clear paper trails to verify voter choices.
  • Voices strong concerns that all candidates for office be given the same rules for ballot access to avoid special advantage to any individual or political party.

 

D. EQUALITY

 

The Vermont Democratic Party supports individual liberty and the community of citizens caring for and about each other.  Laws and regulations must be administered so that all Vermonters are treated equally.

 

  1. EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Believes in equitable treatment for all.
  • Seeks the passage of laws and regulations that ensure equality regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ancestry, place of birth, age, physical or mental condition, military service, or economic status.
  • Celebrates legal equality in Vermont for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals and couples. We will continue to press our Congressional delegation to pass similar legislation at the national level and repeal existing discriminatory laws including the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
  • We expects all agencies and officers of state government to act with respect for the dignity, individuality, and cultural distinctiveness of Vermont’s Native American peoples, and supports them in their quest for formal tribal recognition.
  • Opposes the current trend of militarization of local police forces around the country and requests our Congressional delegation to investigate and act upon their findings to protect our democratic rights. 

 

  1. WORKERS’ RIGHTS

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Believes employees have the right to organize a union, bargain collectively, and to work free from discrimination in a safe, healthy and fair environment.
  • Supports equal pay for women and the strengthening of Vermont’s Equal Pay Act.
  • Supports paid parental leave.
  • Is committed to ensuring that workplace standards in Vermont promote public health and safety and are responsive to the needs of Vermont's workforce and families.  To this end, we support establishing a minimum standard of earned paid leave for all Vermont workers.
  • Supports fully funding pension obligations to all state and school employees.
  • Supports a livable wage.

 

E. BUILDING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

 

Vermont Democrats believe the values of education, health care, housing and other essential human services form the foundation for healthy communities.

 

  1. CHILD CARE

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Supports affordable and accessible high quality child care.

 

  1. EDUCATION

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Supports access to high quality pre-K –16 public education and continuing education for all Vermonters.

 

  1. HEALTH CARE

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Supports the premise that access to appropriate, affordable, accountable healthcare is the right of every human being regardless of employment, income, or age. This includes mental health, prescription drugs, long term care, choice of provider, end of life care, reproductive freedom, oral health for adults and children, optical care, auditory care, and privacy rights.
  • Believes that prevention is the cornerstone of sound healthcare policy.
  • Supports an individual's right to make reproductive choices. This includes access to health care, sex education, and information. We respect an individual's right to make informed, independent decisions about health, sex, family planning and access to an abortion.

 

  1. AGING AND DISABLED POPULATION

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Encourages businesses and agencies to provide job opportunities based on ability without unlawful discrimination.
  • Encourages businesses and agencies to make their facilities accessible in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

 

  1. CRIME PREVENTION

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Supports crime prevention through education, drug treatment, and adequate funding of law enforcement and courts, to enable us to protect our citizens and decrease the costs of incarceration.
  • Opposes incarceration in for-profit and out-of-state facilities that separate prisoners from family and community ties necessary to their successful and safe reintegration into Vermont communities.
  • Supports programs for diversion, drug treatment, and post-release services such as supervision, job training and transitional housing to lower recidivism rates.

 

  1. HOUSING

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Promotes home ownership and housing within existing town and city development zones, construction of affordable housing and moderately priced homes, and housing accessible to elders and people with disabilities. 
  • Supports the enforcement of safe housing standards.
  • Is committed to restoring and increasing program funding to subsidize low-income rental housing.
  • Supports fully funded low-income home heating assistance and the adoption of policies to restrict speculator control of energy futures contracts.
  • Supports the construction of energy efficient buildings.

 

7.  INTERNET ACCESS

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Promotes access to high speed internet for all, at home, in schools, and in local libraries.

 

F.  FOREIGN POLICY

 

Vermont Democrats support efforts to build international partnerships that enhance economic opportunities while remaining vigilant to transnational threats.

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Promotes international cooperation to solve problems such as terrorism, climate change, nuclear proliferation, economic dislocation, genocide and pandemics.
  • Supports policies protecting Americans around the world.
  • Will work with others to discourage war as an instrument of national policy.
  • Supports actions that are undertaken against those who would harm us. Such actions should be planned to avoid civilian casualties.
  • Encourages our members of Congress to consider the root causes of terrorism and how to ameliorate them.

 G.  MILITARY

 

Vermont Democrats support the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, our Armed Services, and our veterans; we are grateful for their service on our behalf.

 

The Vermont Democratic Party:

 

  • Asks our Congressional delegation to ensure the government promptly provides all necessary support services to military personnel, veterans, and their families.
  • Supports steps necessary to assure that our service members are able to cast timely ballots in local, statewide, and national elections.
  • Supports continued public funding of the Vermont Veterans Home.

 

 

 

2014 Platform Committee:

 

Jeff Fannon, Chair

Dottie Deans

Rep. Tim Jerman

Stephen Amos

Sen. Claire Ayer

Char Osterlund

Charlotte Dennette

John Bauer

Julia Barnes, VDP Executive Director

 

Adopted as amended by the Vermont Democratic Party Platform Convention,

September 27, 2014

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